Perhaps you’ve noticed essential oils making cameo appearances in your yoga classes. Yoga teachers are acknowledging the benefits of and sharing oils in class more frequently than ever. The question is, what oils should you use and why? Essential oils have the ability, much like yoga poses, to uplift, to balance, and to calm. Here are a few essential oils that are widely available and could prove beneficial to your practice.
Lavender - lavender oil has long been used to calm the mind and body. Lavender essential oil can be combined with a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil and rubbed on the temples, bottoms of the feet, and behind the ears to calm the nervous system. This would be a terrific oil to use in a yin or restorative practice.
Orange, Grapefruit, Lemon- Many of the citrus essential oils are intended to awaken and ignite the senses. I have seen these used in early morning power flow classes to wake up the mind and body and to ignite one's energy. You can create a fine mist by adding distilled water to these citrus essential oils and spritzing your body prior to class. Also, consider a few sprays in your hair and on your feet.
Cedarwood - Cedarwood is one of my favorite grounding oils. I use this oil in both yin and vinyasa classes to ground my energy. Cedarwood has a scent reminiscent of earth, soil, and wood. Before a yin practice, place a drop of cedarwood oil (diluted in almond oil) in between your palms, rub them together, then cup your nose and inhale. Rub the oil into your shoulders, the back of your neck, and on your forearms to promote grounding throughout your yin practice.
Peppermint - Peppermint is a cooling essential oil. I prefer peppermint oil diluted with distilled water and sprayed on my feet at the end of a hot, sweaty vinyasa practice. As a teacher, I’ll combine peppermint and orange and spritz clients’ feet during waterfall pose. A precaution with peppermint oil is that is can irritate your eyes. Make sure to wash your hands after handling peppermint oil and to not spray directly into your face or eyes.
There are a handful of resources on the internet for various uses of essential oils, including “recipes” for making your own blends. My “go to” is Doterra Essential Oils; however, there are many other companies offering quality essential oils. Most health food stores carry the above oils so you can get started and go from there. Enjoy!
By Liz Skarvelis; All Rights Reserved @2018